Best Practices of Email Call-To-Action: Dos & Don’ts


Anton Shabatov - May 24, 2018 - 0 comments

Being the part of successful email marketing, call to action needs to be discussed as well. As it is obvious from the name of this element, this is where you motivate the receiver of the email to do something according to your marketing goals. According to email CTA best practices, it can be an invitation to the event, downloading the files, installing the software or buy goods. In any case, it is defined by the business specifications. Speaking of the form it can be anchor text links, buttons or images. Let’s find out why it is important and how to use this tool properly.

Why Is Email Call-to-Action Important in Online Marketing?

The main goal of the CTA is turning emails into the conversions and customer engagement. So your task here is to persuade the receiver of the email to do the offered action whether it is a subscription or buying the product. You need to work hard on designing perfect call-to-action as the results of your campaign depend on this element. When receiving the email the person can find the content or the offer interesting. However, the email can be closed and you will never get the new customers or sales without proper CTA. That is how you show the receivers what they can do to get quality service, interesting materials and so on.

How to Create a Strong Call-to-Action?

There are many aspects you need to take into consideration while creating your email call to action. But we should start with the basic steps:

  1. Defining your goal. Think of the action you want to get from the receiver of the email. Make it suitable to the type of the commercial activity you hold.
  2. Writing the copy. Create the killer value offer for the reader in order to motivate the further clicks and other actions.
  3. Designing your CTA. The creative means here are free, but make sure that your design is visible enough and do not distract from the main purpose of the CTA part.

Dos and Don’ts in Call to Action Email Marketing

After learning the basic steps of CTA creation let’s take a closer look at the things you should and should not do if you want to make your call-to-action part work.

CTA Dos

  1. Use Verbs. The key word here is “action” that is why adding the verb will send the clear message to the reader what to do. Also, try to avoid vague words like “enter” or “submit”.
  2. Add one call to action to the email or website. If you want your reader to make the particular move, do to confuse the person with multiple options. It is overwhelming and according to the paradox of choice in such situations, we prefer not to choose anything at all.
  3. Catching design. You can use one trick. Blur your eyes and look at the page from some distance. Then look back and define what element you see first. That is how you can check whether your call-to-action button or link is visible and catching enough,
  4. Correlate with the subject line. This part of the letter is similar to the call-to-action as it motivates the person to do something (open the email). So you can start your CTA-plan by creating call-to-action email subject lines that also start with action verbs like “Level up your open rate in 2 weeks”.
  5. Make it feel urgent. Words like “now” or “today” may sound overused, but the principle of the “urgent” offer works now. Amazon still uses the word “now” in every third call to action.
  6. Keep it short. It is much easier to understand what to do when you see 2-3 words top than reading the long sentence trying to get to the point.
  7. Be specific. Along with laconic style make sure that the message is understandable to the reader, there is no second meaning and it draws the clear picture.
  8. Repeat call-to-action. Since the CTA element should be one for the single letter or page, there is nothing wrong with repeating it again. For instance, your subject line can include a call to action and at the end of the letter, you can remind to “install” or to “buy” and so on.
  9. Test. That is the way you can make sure your CTA is perfect for your marketing purposes.

CTA Don’ts

  1. Sound desperate. Despite you really want the reader to do something. You need to focus on the value of the person. So highlight the perks for the person instead of what you want from them.
  2. Create Vague Messages. When there is no particular email marketing call to action or the message is not clear you risk not getting any conversion at all.
  3. Be afraid of experiments. It is hard to guest the right CTA approach at once. Only experimenting and testing will help you to define the right color, font size, and the location.
  4. Use the word “Submit”. That is how you can create a vague message we have warned you about above. Use the action words instead.
  5. Make the call-to-action unnoticeable. There is nothing to hide. Moreover, you need to make sure the button will be seen in any case. So place it above and below the fold in order not to miss it while scrolling.
  6. Link CTA to your homepage. That is how you miss the opportunity to raise the traffic on the conversion driving landing pages. So create the dedicated page and link it to CTA button.
  7. Use too many CTAs on one page. As we already said, the multiple-choice situation leads to the absence of the action at all.
  8. Use one type of CTA for a long time. There is an often case when the particular approach gets old or your marketing purposes change. So do not forget to adjust your call to action to the changing environment.
  9. Forget to optimize. Make it work for the search engines as well. Add relevant keywords to the alt tags in order to level up the search value of the target page.

Call to Action Email Examples

One of the best ways to learn how to create a decent call to action is to learn from the bests. So below you will see the call to action email and website examples, principles of which you can copy in your practice.

  1. Netflix.

The design and the copy are simple. But still, we clearly understand what we are offered and what to do here.


  1. Uber.

Despite here we can find a few call-to-action buttons, each of them is aimed at the different target visitor. And here we can see the language of the people who tend to visit this site.

  1. Spotify.

We understand that the main goal of the Spotify is to acquire customers who can pay for the service. That is why “Go Premium” is visible as well and bright. While another option – free subscription – is secondary here.

  1. Salesforce.

As you see, the button here is located above the fold of the homepage. And the button has a pretty personal message. Also, there is an option for those who are not ready to start the trial – to learn more.

  1. Dropbox.

We regularly remark the simplicity of Dropbox design. Thanks to such approach the CTA blue button catches the eye. At the same time, everything is in correlated colors so it is obvious that we are offered to sign up for the Dropbox service.

  1. Evernote.

The pain point of the target customers is included. That is why likely each of us gets the message. The main “Sign up” button is duplicated at the top of the page. It offers the same action though.

Final Thoughts on CTA Email Marketing

So how to reach the success when it comes to designing CTA for email marketing? Summarizing all the tips and examples we can say that the most important things here are being sincere and show the interest to your target reader and show them benefits of your offer. It must be a mutual help as they help to grow your business while you need to give the good in return. Follow the detailed tips mentioned above and you will be able to reach success.

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